Members of the Utah Republican Party’s state central committee have made the decision to move forward and comply with election changes made by SB54.
To prepare for the 2016 election cycle members of the GOP state central committee voted nearly unanimously to become a qualified political party or QPP. It’s a new designation created by SB54 and is the only one that allows a party to use a caucus and convention to choose who will appear on the primary ballot. But QPP’s also have to allow candidates who choose the signature-gathering route into their primaries if they reach the designated threshold.
Members of the central committee also approved changes to the definition of party membership. Candidates now have to be a registered Republican, and have to sign a disclosure saying they agree with the party platform, unless otherwise noted. Utah GOP Chairman James Evans says he was able to get support for the QPP path because of that change.
“Now I was able to explain that, yes we can comply as needed, but here we have a protection because we have control over our membership,” he says.
The central committee also voted to continue with the party’s lawsuit against SB54.
Sen. Todd Weiler, R-Woods Cross, is a member of the state central committee and has been a vocal critic of the party’s lack of effort to comply with SB54. He says he’s glad to see they’ve finally chosen the QPP path, but he’s concerned with the membership changes.
“Well then who’s going to investigate that, who’s going to decide if that is valid, who’s going to decide if I’m a real Republican? And I think we just took a baby step right back towards these purity panels and these worthiness interviews,” he says.
The entire body of Republican delegates will decide the final fate of these changes at their annual convention in August.